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Larisa Romanovna Oleynik, is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Alex Mack on the Nickelodean series The Secret World of Alex Mack. On Pretty Little Liars, she plays the role of Maggie Cutler.
Oleynik began acting in a San Francisco broadway production of Les Misérables in 1989 after seeing an audition ad in a newspaper when she was eight years old. She obtained two parts in the production, both with singing roles. After appearing in the musical, she contacted an agent and began taking acting lessons and later proved how serious she was by beginning her screen acting career at age 12, in a 1993 episode of the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; the same year, she also appeared in the made-for-television film River of Rage: The Taking of Maggie Keene and made a cameo on The Adventures of Pete & Pete as a nurse at the beginning of the episode "Dance Fever". Later in 1993, she was subsequently cast in the lead role of the series The Secret World of Alex Mack where she portrayed a teenage girl who receives telekinetic powers as the result of an accident. She won the role of Alex Mack over 400 other aspirants. The series ran on Nickelodeon from 1994 to 1998 and was one of the network's top three most watched shows, becoming quite a favorite among teen audiences and turning Oleynik into a teen idol. During the show's heyday, children who met Larisa Oleynik (and were too young to understand special effects) would often ask her to "morph" for them. Rather than try to explain things, she would quickly glance around, then tell them "Not here - everybody would see!".
Oleynik reprised the role in an All That sketch, although the name was changed to "Alex Sax". Oleynik later appeared in the 100th episode of All That. Also during her time on The Secret World of Alex Mack, she played one of the lead characters in the 1995 feature film The Baby-Sitters Club (opposite Rachael Leigh Cook and Schuyler Fisk), appeared in several episodes of Boy Meets World, wrote an advice column for Tiger Beat magazine, and was involved in Nickelodeon's The Big Help charity Hands Across Communication, Surfrider Foundation and the Starlight Children's Foundation. She has also hosted the "YTV Achievement Awards", The Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards as well as the The Big Help.
She has commented that she stayed "grounded" during her period as a teen star, mainly through the help of a "strong network of people" that she is close to.
After The Secret World of Alex Mack ended its run, Oleynik had a starring role in the film 10 Things I Hate About You as Bianca. The film was released in April 1999 and did fairly well at the box office, grossing a total of $38 million domestically. From 1998–2000, Oleynik appeared in twenty one episodes of the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun as Alissa Strudwick, girlfriend of Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). During 2000, she also appeared in two independent films: 100 Girls (opposite Emmanuelle Chriqui, Katherine Heigl and Jonathan Tucker) and A Time for Dancing (opposite Shiri Appleby); neither film received a theatrical release in the United States. She has appeared in Malcolm in the Middle as Reese's lesbian army buddy, who developed a crush on his mom, Lois. Next, Oleynik had a supporting role in the film An American Rhapsody, which received a limited release in August 2001, and appeared in Bringing Rain, a low-budget film. Oleynik was cast in a supporting role in the series Pepper Dennis, which began airing on The WB in April 2006, but was not picked up by The WB's successor, The CW. In March 2008, Oleynik guest-starred in episode 13 of Aliens in America. In 2009, she provided audio commentary for the 10 Things I Hate About You 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray.
In March 2011, Oleynik started appearing in a recurring role on Hawaii Five-0 as CIA analyst Jenna Kaye. Her character was later killed off. Oleynik appeared as the girlfriend (and later wife) of Ken Cosgrove, Cynthia Cosgrove (née Baxter), in the fourth-season episode "Chinese Wall" and the fifth-season premiere "A Little Kiss" on the AMC television show Mad Men.